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SRQ DAILY Sep 24, 2022

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"Ringling College is committed to being an integral part of this community. The historic Sarasota High School has been a landmark in this community since it was built in 1927. "

- Dr. Larry Thompson, Ringling College of Art & Design

[Under The Hood]  Voting Methodology's New Normal
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

In just a few short years, the voting patterns of Democrats and Republicans have become wildly different in recent years. That was on display in the Aug. 23 primary election, where you can see the different ways that ballots were cast by Republican voters and by Democratic ones. And differences in behavior have become so dramatic the phenomenon has challenged political observers and participants alike in even gauging the lay of the land.

For example, Primary Day has almost become a formality for Democrats in Florida. Few outcomes will be decided by those who wait until the last day to cast votes in a race, which not so long ago was when almost everybody waited to vote. But in Sarasota County, 34,610 Democrats voted by mail and another 3,912 participated in early voting. By comparison, only 8,903 waited to vote on Aug. 23 at the polls.

I don’t mean to overstate things. Those mail ballots can be cast at any point until polls close, including by voters who walk their ballots in right up until the last second. But those Democratic candidates flagging down voters outside the precinct will be lucky find voters who can even cast a ballot in their election. Less than 19% of voters still do so. And not that many are using the ability to vote in-person early.  Almost 73% of Democrats in Sarasota cast their ballots in August at a tabletop instead of a polling station.

By comparison, more than 45% of Republicans did not cast their ballot until polls opened on Aug. 23. That 12-hour span was the frame of time when the outcomes of a number of critical races were decided (I discussed a couple weeks ago how the School Board races completed flipped based on Primary Day turnout alone).

We saw 28,319 registered Republicans in the county come out to vote at the polls, compared to 24,388 who voted by mail. A total of 6,654 took advantage of early voting. A decade ago, Republicans could be relied upon to vote be mail in numbers. Many attribute former President Trump’s disparagement of mail voting as a reason for the shift. That said, it should be noted that more than 39% of GOP voters still cast their ballot in an postage-paid envelope so it’s not like all voters abandoned this message.

Still, in-person voting on the day ballots are counted is the preference of Republicans alone. About 57% of voters without any party voted by mail if they voted at all. Less than 10% chose early voting. Similar trends could be found with third-party voters.

For people like me who spend election day trying to figure the right moment to say an election is settled, this has created a strange new dynamic, one that will be much worse in a General Election where all voters participate. Early returns, which in Florida include only mail-in and early votes, inevitably make it look like Democrats are doing better than the final results will show. And sometimes you can’t tell how well Republicans are doing until well into the evening. 

But this isn’t just a frustration for reporters. Political consultants budget get-out-the-vote efforts, and with party lines now dictating even how each of us votes, it makes targeting more difficult.

I don’t know if this benefits one side or the other. I have wondered if Democrats felt smug in August about their out-sized success in rallying vote-by-mail, and I knew Republicans who felt absolutely sunk about how bad turnout appeared until the morning of Aug. 23. Those feelings all turned out to be unfounded. And when votes shift so much in the day, it inevitably breeds conspiracy theories, though trends prove those unwarranted.

But this does appear to be the new normal, one that didn’t disappear over the last two years and likely won’t let up soon.

Jacob Ogles is a contributing senior editor for SRQ MEDIA who has been covering business, politics and community issues for SRQ Magazine and SRQ DAILY since 2008. He also contributes the Under The Hood column which appears in the Saturday Perspectives edition of SRQ DAILY offering a twice-monthly analysis of the driving forces behind Sarasota-Manatee politics.  

[Higher Education]  Sarasota's Modern Powerhouse
Dr. Larry Thompson, lthompso@ringling.edu

Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College is the College’s contemporary and teaching art museum. As the only museum in the region dedicated exclusively to showcasing living artists and contemporary art, Sarasota Art Museum presents engaging and fresh perspectives through art with new and innovative exhibits opening throughout the year. 

The mission and vision of the Sarasota Art Museum states that it “is a catalyst for appreciation and understanding of the art of our time. As a platform for education, exposure, and experimentation, the Museum inspires new ideas and new ways of being through an endless rotation of transformative, relevant, and pioneering exhibitions and programs designed to elevate and empower all by cultivating discerning visual thinkers and ethical citizens.”

That all sounds great. But some of you may ask, “Ok, but why does this place really exist?” “Why did Ringling College and its supporters feel this museum was so important to create and champion?” There are so many reasons, but I believe the concise answer to that important question was built on two foundational pillars: preeminence and community.

If you are at all familiar with Ringling College or my 23-year tenure as president, you know that my vision and highest priority has always been to elevate the College and set the institution on a path to becoming the preeminent art and design college in the world. To me, this means achieving the pinnacle of distinction and excellence as an educational institution and being the art and design college people think of first. To accomplish that, we must be able to provide the absolute best faculty, staff, technology and facilities to ensure our students receive the world-class art and design education so they can go on to thrive in their chosen careers. Sarasota Art Museum provides one of these key, state-of-the-art facilities for our students to utilize.

Located on many other distinguished college and university campuses across the country – the likes of Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, Williams College and Rhode Island School of Design to name a few – are some of the very best and most prestigious museum art collections in the country. These museums are often labeled as the institutions’ ‘hidden gems’ and provide the perfect spaces for self-discovery, cultural reflection, contemplation and personal growth. 

While many of those museums house older, permanent and often culturally-specific collections, our Sarasota Art Museum is a kunsthalle. That means we have the freedom and the space to provide endless new perspectives and inspiring encounters, free from the responsibility to keep, store and maintain pieces of art. This decision was purposeful and strategic. It allows us to be a living, dynamic laboratory and also presents myriad opportunities to experience contemporary works by living artists in a variety of diverse mediums. As a ‘teaching museum’ we can use art to ignite creativity, imagination and critical thinking in different ways that complement a student’s other forms of study. 

Contemporary art, as it is loosely defined, refers to artwork produced in the second half of the 20th century or in our current age of the 21st. Contemporary artists work in a globally influenced, culturally diverse and technologically advancing world. At Ringling College, we, too, are home to the next generation of creative visionaries. In this ever-evolving world, we encourage our students to take risks, think differently, disrupt, embrace their failures and thereby manifest their creativity. The Museum serves as a powerhouse where they can see other fellow artists, disruptors and creators whose risks and creativity have led to something significant and impactful through their work. “Education, exposure, and experimentation,” as the mission states, are just some of the opportunities the Museum can provide to Ringling College’s students, as well as other college/university students, families, children, visitors and each and every member of our community. 

And that gets me to my second point – community. Ringling College is committed to being an integral part of this community. The historic Sarasota High School has been a landmark in this community since it was built in 1927. When the building was in danger of being lost forever, the College stepped up and committed to raise the money for a beautiful rehabilitation to reuse it for another purpose. The architectural gem that was Sarasota High School – stands as a symbol of Ringling College’s commitment to and investment in the community. Saving this remarkable Sarasota landmark and providing a space to nurture human connection demonstrates convincingly this commitment to the community while also serving as good stewards and promoters of the arts here in Sarasota and beyond. 

Thomas Merton, a well-known writer and philosopher said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” So I invite you to come and experience our Museum. Delight in an unexpected exhibition; take a ceramics class; enjoy lunch at the Bistro; attend Jazz Thursdays. Find yourself; lose yourself. Explore what Sarasota Art Museum has to offer. 

Dr. Larry Thompson is president of Ringling College of Art & Design. 

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Venice Theatre: God's Country , September 9 – September 25, Varied

God's Country by Steven Dietz. A riveting, highly theatrical docudrama about those dedicated to revolution against the U.S. government and the expulsion from "God's Country" of non-Aryans. Three narrative spines are skillfully interwoven in this thought-provoking, unsettling, and challenging fare that examines America’s dark soul, and asks, “What can/should we do about it?” * Includes violent and graphic images, adult language and heavy adult themes. Audience discretion advised. September 9th-25th, 2022. For more information visit venicetheatre.org, Ph. 941.488.1115, email info@venicetheatre.net

Venice Theatre, 140 Tampa Ave. W Venice, FL 34285 (The Box Office is currently closed for walk-up business)

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: UF/IFAS Extension Manatee County: Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Fair , October 1, 8am-1pm

2022 Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Fair is an exciting community event, drawing in a variety of consumers from casual houseplant owners to dedicated horticulturalists. Saturday, October 1, 2022, from 8:00am to 1:00pm UF/IFAS Extension Manatee County will be hosting a plant fair at the Barbara Davis Educational Gardens located at 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221. Instead of buying your next plant at a big box store, why not find a more affordable, expertly grown plant that supports your local community? All our plants are grown by Master Gardener Volunteers and all proceeds go towards supporting and maintaining Manatee County’s Master Gardener Volunteer Program. People can register for free for a one hour time slot on the UF/IFAS Extension Manatee County Eventbrite page. 1303 17th Street West, Palmetto Saturday, October 1, 2022 8:00 am - 1:00 pm Information Call Alyssa Vinson at 941-722-4524 extension 1822


[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Florida Studio Theatre: New York State of Mind: All the Hits of Billy Joel With The Uptown Boys , August 9 – October 2, Varies.

With more than 40 years of cumulative work on some of Broadway’s biggest hits, The Uptown Boys use Billy Joel’s rich songbook as a way to share their stories of life, love, and trying to make it in New York City. Whether you’re a fan of Billy Joel’s entire catalogue or just a casual listener, The Uptown Boys have something to satisfy everyone. Featuring such hits as “Only The Good Die Young,” “For the Longest Time,” “Piano Man,” and many more you know and love. New York State of Mind: All the Hits of Billy Joel With The Uptown Boys™ by Alexander Aguilar and John De Simini will play beginning August 9, 2022 in FST's John C. Court Cabaret. Run Time is 70 minutes with a 15-minute intermission.

Florida Studio Theatre's John C. Court Cabaret

[SOON]  THEATER: Manatee Performing Arts Center: RENT , September 14 – October 2, Varies

La Vie Boheme! Jonathan Larson’s iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning musical that shaped a generation of audiences and taught us all to measure our life in love. Set in the East Village of New York City, Rent is about falling in love, finding your voice and living for today. Rent has become a pop cultural phenomenon. with songs that rock and a story that resonates with audiences of all ages. This is theatre at its best – exuberant, passionate and joyous. For more information visit www.manateeperformingartscenter.com, Ticket Office 941-748-5875

Manatee Performing Arts Center , 502 Third Avenue West Bradenton, FL 34205

[SOON]  THEATER: Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe: Guys and Dolls , October 5 – November 20, Varied

A Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Guys and Dolls tells the story of New York City gambler Nathan Detroit, who dreams of setting up a big dice game while avoiding the authorities—and marriage to his longtime fiancée. Meanwhile, fellow gambler Sky Masterson ends up wooing a strait-laced missionary in a scheme to fund the game. WBTT will add its own special twist to this crowd-pleasing show! Performances run October 5th-November 20th, 2022. For more information visit westcoastblacktheatre.org, Ph. 941-366-1505, Box Office questions email boxoffice@westcoastblacktheatre.org

The Donelly Theatre , 1012 N. Orange Ave Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  FILM: Sarasota Film Society: Movies For Heroes , September 13 – December 13, Varied

Sarasota Film Society is proud to present "Movies For Heroes", a year long Salute to our Military. Active, Non-Active, Retired Personnel & their family are welcomed to join us once a month at 11am at Burns Court & Lakewood Ranch Cinemas starting in January of 2022 for a year of free movie screenings. 10% of the concession sales from these screenings will go to Wounded Warrior Project. Space is limited, reserve your tickets today. Location Burns Court Cinemas 506 Burns Court Sarasota, FL 34236.

506 Burns Court Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: MOTE MARINE: Meet the Women of Mote , September 14 – October 7, Varied

MEET THE WOMEN OF MOTE This year, we are celebrating what would have been the 100th birthday of  Mote’s founding director, Dr. Eugenie Clark. Thanks to her amazing legacy, many women have followed in her wake. This fall, we introduce you to the marine science educators, researchers, and ocean explorers that we call "The Women of Mote".  You’ll learn about their journeys, career challenges, and their incredible accomplishments impacting marine environments in our own backyard and around the globe. We hope you'll join us- and find yourself inspired- as we celebrate these talented and pioneering women during the second season of Women of Mote. The three-part series will include two virtual events, and one hybrid event held in the WAVE Center at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium while being broadcast to our virtual audience. Sept. 14 and 21 and one hybrid event Oct. 7. More event details can be found at mote.org/womenofmote

Mote Marine , 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, Florida.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Venice Theatre: The Revolutionists , September 16 – October 2, Varied

The Revolutionists by Lauren Gunderson. Four bodacious women lose their heads (literally) in this irreverent, women-centered tragicomedy set during the French Revolution. This witty, thought-provoking, raucously funny adventure was inventively conceived by one of today’s most-produced American playwrights. * Includes adult language/themes. Audience discretion advised. September 16-October 2, 2022. Tickets Adult $29 College/Educator $21 Youth $15 For more information visit venicetheatre.org, Ph. 941.488.1115, email info@venicetheatre.net 

Venice Theatre, 140 Tampa Ave. W Venice, FL 34285 (The Box Office is currently closed for walk-up business)

[SOON]  THEATER: CreArte Latino Cultural Center: MADENUSA , September 16 – October 15, Varied

CreArte Latino Cultural Center Presents MADENUSA A Play by Claudia Soroka September 16-17, at 8 p.m., September 18 at 5 p.m., and October 14 and 15 at 8 p.m. MADENUSA is an amusing and fresh take on the immigrant experience that delves into the intricacies of adjusting to a different culture. The comedy is directed by Carolina Franco, president and artistic director of CreArte Latino Cultural Center. The play will be performed in Spanish with subtitles in English. The playwright will attend the show on September 17 with a bilingual Q & A after the performance. Tickets are $20. To purchase tickets, visit www.creartelatino.org. CreArte Latino Cultural Center is at 8251 15th Street East, Airport Mall Plaza, Suite 1, Sarasota. The show is sponsored, in part, by a $3,000 grant from Bradenton Area Arts & Culture.

CreArte Latino Cultural Center, 8251 15th Street East, Airport Mall Plaza, Suite 1, Sarasota.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Friendsgiving - Dessert and Wine Auction , November 5, 6:30pm-9:30pm

Save the date for Friendsgiving, a Dessert and Wine Auction to benefit local shelter animals on November 5th from 6:30 to 9:30 at the Elks Lodge #1511, 2511 75th St. West Bradenton. Delectable desserts made by professional bakeries and gift baskets will be available by live and silent auction. There will be a wine raffle, lite bites and a cash bar. Free to attend. Proceeds benefit: Grace and Friends Medical Fund, Heal My Heart treating heartworm positive dogs, Slumber Fund for dog beds, Traveling Paws transporting dogs to northern forever homes, Enrichment and Food for Ferals. 

Elks Lodge

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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